Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting rates Brian Lara ahead of Sachin Tendulkar because the West Indies batting great helped his team win more matches than his Indian counterpart.
“Sachin and Lara were the two stand-out batsmen for me. Lara won more games for his team than Sachin probably has," Ponting told Evening Standard.
Ponting also said as a captain he was more wary of Lara than Tendulkar adding for him "it is about winning games and series".
"I’d lose more sleep as captain knowing Lara was coming in to bat next day than I would with Sachin. You always found a way to restrict Sachin if you needed to. Lara could turn it on in half an hour and take a game away from you. For me, it has never been about making hundreds, it is about winning games and series.”
The last roll of Ponting's bat
Ponting gets a hundred in his last match
501 reasons why Lara was the best
Tendulkar will know when to walk away: Lara
Ponting also said England batsman Kevin Pietersen's is not a better batsman than his successor Michael Clarke, adding England captain Alastair Cook has scored more hundreds in fewer Test matches. “He’s (Pietersen) not head and shoulders over Clarke, no way. His record wouldn’t suggest he is better than Clarke. And Alastair Cook’s record is a lot better than Pietersen’s. He has more hundreds in fewer Tests than Pietersen and as an opener."
The Decision Review system was under the microscope following some howlers in the thrilling first Test match of the Ashes series at Trent Bridge, and Ponting has offered some advice to Clarke on the best use of the system. "You need people around you who you can rely on. You need a wicketkeeper you can trust and bowlers who are going to be 100 per cent honest and not just think about a victim in their wicket column if it goes their way."
"What we shouldn't forget is that DRS was actually brought in to get the howlers out of the game. As it turned out the other day, the Aussies were probably hoping they could get one with [Johnny] Bairstow and then they ended up missing a howler with [Stuart] Broad."
Ponting was full of praise for Australia's teenage debutant Ashton Agar, who scored a record 98 batting at No. 11 at Trent Bridge. “I played a bit of state cricket against Agar earlier in the season. He bowled to us in the nets before the Test match and I got a chance to play a Shield game against him really late in the season in which he batted very, very, well. So I knew he had some talent with the bat," he said.
Despite Australia trailing early in the five-match series, Ponting feels Australia will regain the Ashes urn. “I said 2-1 to Australia at the start and nothing has changed for me, no. We’ve got a lot of hard work to do but it seems like things are on the right track."